Sunday, September 9, 2012
The great schism begins!
I took a break from blogging the last couple of weeks - not because (unlike the Blag Hag and some other feminist bloggers) I am such a delicate wilting wallflower that I can't handle disagreement, I was just on vacation. Anyway, on coming back to civilization I see that the radfems now have their very own Church of The One True Atheism with PZ Myers as its pope.
In a way, I'm happy for them. Let them have their own little Kool Kidz Klub. Let them sit in their own echo chamber, blocking comments and banning everyone else who isn't 100% on board with their radfem ideology. Meanwhile, the people who want to make an actual difference in society will continue fighting the good fight, hopefully without constantly being screamed at that they are rapists and misogynists.
The sad part is that I actually agree with a lot of what the plussers are saying about social and political issues. However, my beliefs in those areas are independent of my atheism. Atheism is simply a recognition of the true state of affairs in the universe, that there is no old man with a beard in the sky pulling all the strings and preparing to reward us with Heaven or Hell. Saying "I'm a liberal because I'm an atheist" makes as much sense as saying "I'm a liberal because I realize that the world is round, not flat."
I value my right and ability to make up my own mind on any given issue, and I will never surrender that right to some 57-year-old untenured professor at some cow college in East Jesus, Minnesota. And it's really disappointing to see Myers, the oldest of the plussers, behaving so immaturely. A big part of growing up is realizing that people have their own ideas and you will never meet someone who is 100% in agreement with you, but you have to work with other people never the less - you can't just dismiss them as poopieheads.
Myers is making the same mistake that religious leaders have made throughout history. They try to cut themselves off from the rest of the world and create a utopian society which will somehow transform the outside world despite having zero contact with it. Then reality catches up with them and they either fade into oblivion (like the Shakers) or melt down spectacularly (like Jim Jones and similar cults).
If I were a gambler, my money would be one the second outcome. There are so many narcissistic, self-obsessed personalities within the "plus" movement, they will inevitably come into conflict. A few months from now, Myers will be calling McCreight a cunt, Watson will be accusing Richard Carrier of trying to rape her because he said something on the internet that she disagreed with, and everyone will be at everyone else's throat. Eventually any pretense of a coherent movement will be lost and there will be nothing left but a bunch of butt-hurt individuals screaming at each other and everyone else over their hurt feelings and first world problems.
The simple fact is that atheism is not a movement, any more than refraining from collecting stamps is a movement. We do need a movement to separate church from state, but religious people have as much to gain as atheists from defending the constitution in this area. We need a movement to improve science education and defend it from religious dogma and fairy tales, but again this is not specifically an atheist issue. Countries like Sweden and Norway don't have atheist movements because over there atheism is the default, as it logically should be.
In other words, atheists need to build coalitions with other atheists who don't necessarily agree with them on every particular, as well as with agnostics and theists. The plussers' insistence on lock-step conformity, and the eagerness with which they antagonize and alienate everyone who isn't ideologically pure enough for their liking, is stupid and immature.